How to Wipe an iPhone, iPad, and Mac

A hard disk drive being disintegrated.

After years of using your Apple device, you may be wondering how to wipe an iPhone, iPad, and Mac. By “wipe” I mean factory reset. It’s important to wipe your devices before selling or recycling them because you don’t want someone trying to recover your deleted data.

How to Wipe an iPhone and iPad

To wipe an iPhone or iPad you’ll want to do a couple of things beforehand. First, turn off Find My by going to Settings > Your Name > Find My. Tap on Find My iPhone or iPad and disable all the toggles.

Next, if you plan to get an Android phone, you’ll want to turn off iMessage. Go to Settings > Message and turn off the toggle next to iMessage. Last, of course you’ll want to make sure that your data is properly migrated off the device. Again, if you’re going to Android, Google has instructions on this page. If you’re just getting a new Apple device, just make sure that your data is synced and backed up to iCloud.

Once all that is done you can wipe your iPhone and iPad with these steps.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll down and tap Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  4. You’ll see several options here. Tap on Erase All Content and Settings. If your iCloud Backup is old, you’ll see a dialog box appear asking if you want to update the backup or continue to erase the device. And you’ll probably be asked to enter your Apple ID password or device passcode.

wipe iPhone


How to Wipe a Mac

Again, you’ll want to make sure your data is safe in another location, whether it’s backed up to a cloud service or an external hard drive.

  1. First, restart your Mac. Click the Apple icon in the top menu bar, then click Restart.
  2. Next, we’re going into Recovery Mode. When your computer is restarting, hold down Command (⌘) + R on the keyboard for a couple seconds. Hold the keys down before you hear the start up chime.
  3. Click on Disk Utility in the Utilities menu that appears. Choose your hard drive in the sidebar, then click Erase.
  4. Once the hard drive has been erased, reinstall macOS by clicking Install macOS in the Utilities menu. You can skip this step if you plan to throw away the Mac.

macOS disk utility

And that’s how to wipe an iPhone, iPad, and Mac. The Mac Observer also has a guide on how to securely erase a Mac.

2 thoughts on “How to Wipe an iPhone, iPad, and Mac

  • How to Wipe Any Drive.
    Just format the drive, duplicate a large file (as a movie) to fill it, fill the rest duplicating a smaller file and so on until no free space is left, format again and you are done!
    Now, is there an application to do that automatically on the Mac? Thanks.

    1. Update for APFS: the application should change such file internally and automatically in real time, so that APFS sees it as a completely different one, and truly writes it from scratch (because when duplicating the very same file, APFS does not actually duplicate it, contrary to what HFS+ did).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.